US launches official probe into Cruise after pair of pedestrian accidents

Trending 1 month ago

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation of General Motors' Cruise driverless robo-taxis aft a brace of caller pedestrian injuries. 

In its preliminary investigation notice [PDF], nan NHTSA said that nan 2 accidents - and a abstracted brace of incidents that were only discovered aft videos of nan collisions were uploaded to nan net - propose Cruise's automated driving strategy (ADS) "may not beryllium exercising due be aware astir pedestrians successful nan roadway," which won't astonishment galore people.

"These reports impact ADS equipped vehicles encroaching connected pedestrians coming successful aliases entering roadways, including pedestrian crosswalks, successful nan proximity of nan intended recreation way of nan vehicles," nan NHTSA said. "This could summation nan consequence of a collision pinch a pedestrian, which whitethorn consequence successful terrible wounded aliases death."

Cruise operates a fleet of driverless taxis successful San Francisco, Austin, Phoenix and Houston. An estimated 594 vehicles equipped pinch Cruise ADS package are included successful nan NHTSA's investigation. 

One of nan 2 reported accidents that triggered nan investigation occurred successful early October. The NHTSA's report [PDF] corresponds pinch nan incidents of an October 2 incident that was antecedently reported by The Register. 

According to nan NHTSA study that Cruise told america was revenge aft nan accident, a San Francisco female was tally complete by a robo-taxi aft nan quality driver of a Nissan Sentra struck nan pedestrian and launched them successful beforehand of nan Cruise taxi. Not mentioned successful nan NHTSA study is nan truth that nan unfortunate was successful captious condition, and nan Cruise conveyance stopped connected apical of her, trapping her limb nether a rear tire. 

The different incident occurred successful August successful which a pedestrian stepped disconnected a curb and into an intersection successful beforehand of a Cruise conveyance arsenic nan postulation ray turned green. The Cruise AV struck nan pedestrian astatine debased speed, resulting successful "moderate" injuries, per nan NHTSA report.

The NHTSA investigation will service "to find nan scope and severity of nan imaginable problem, including causal factors that whitethorn subordinate to ADS driving policies and capacity astir pedestrians, and to afloat measure nan imaginable information risks," nan NHTSA said. 

Despite nan accusin,' Cruisin' supposedly intends little bruisin'

Information connected nan 2 videoed incidents wasn't provided by nan NHTSA, and Cruise didn't adhd immoderate specifications successful its consequence to our questions. Spokesperson Hannah Lindow did show america that nan cars person a information grounds acold exceeding that of quality drivers, referring america to a Cruise-authored report that recovered 65 percent less collisions involving Cruise AVs than pinch human-piloted ride-hailing services. 

In summation to reduced collisions overall, Cruise said that its cars were astatine responsibility successful 94 percent less collisions than quality drivers, and that it was 74 percent little apt to beryllium progressive successful a collision pinch meaningful consequence of injury.

"Cruise's information grounds complete 5 cardinal miles continues to outperform comparable quality drivers astatine a clip erstwhile pedestrian injuries and deaths are astatine an all-time high," Lindow said. "Cruise communicates regularly pinch NHTSA and has consistently cooperated pinch each of NHTSA's requests for accusation –– whether associated pinch an investigation aliases not –– and we scheme to proceed doing so."

  • City isn't keen connected 5,000 erratic, traffic-jam-causing GM robo-cars connected its streets
  • Cruise self-driving taxi gets wheels stuck successful bedewed cement
  • Tesla's self-driving codification whitethorn disregard extremity signs, enactment unsafe. Patch coming ... soon
  • San Francisco fog defeats battalion of Waymo robo-taxis

Regardless of its existent information record, Cruise's driverless vehicles person consistently made headlines complete operational snafus and nan vexation they've brought to San Francisco streets. 

Software bugs identified past twelvemonth caused Cruise AVs to brake successful nan mediate of unprotected (opposing postulation has nan correct of way) near turns, causing an accident conscionable 1 time aft GM managed to unafraid its driverless cognition licence for Sna Francisco. A package update was besides required aft a Cruise conveyance collapsed into a autobus erstwhile it failed to announcement nan conveyance had decelerated. 

Cruise vehicles person jammed metropolis streets aft ceasing to usability connected more than 1 occasion, and repetition fender benders led nan California Department of Motor Vehicles to unit nan institution to reduce its progressive fleet size by half successful August. ®